OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted those who toppled a statue of noted proponent of Indigenous genocide Sir John A. Macdonald to know he is deeply disappointed in them for not using their words to change the statue’s nature instead.
“Imagine the dialogue that could have been opened if these vandals had attempted to reason with the statue, or to get the statue’s side of the story. Instead, they immediately resorted to violent vandalism and statuary decapitation,” Trudeau said, shaking his own head in disgust.
“Maybe the statue had a good reason for being a celebratory depiction of a man whose brutality towards Indigenous peoples in order to open up western Canada to white settlement resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and whose introduction of the nationwide residential school system continues to devastate Indigenous communities over a century later. Now we’ll never know,” Trudeau lamented.
The statue, which prior to its toppling and decapitation never bothered to explain why it deserved to exist, was toppled during a protest against law enforcement brutality, a fact which was not lost on Trudeau as he appealed to a need for law and order while denouncing the attack on the defenseless effigy.
“We are a country of laws, and we are a country that needs to respect those laws even as we seek to improve and change them. Like how I used to smoke cannabis before it was legal, but it was okay for me to break that law for recreational purposes because then I became prime minister and changed the law I broke. So unless these statue vandals become prime minister and make statue vandalism legal, what they’ve done is and will continue to be wrong,” Trudeau continued.
“Canada needs to move forward in the right way, and that means respecting the rights of commemorative shrines to men who caused untold death and suffering. If you want change, you need to convince the statues to stand down peacefully on their own by appealing to their empathy and reason. This is how we fight injustice: with words, not action. And if those words fall on deaf metallic ears, well then, shout louder. But don’t actually shout, use your indoor voice or you might get tear gassed.”
Trudeau concluded his remarks by giving his deepest sympathies to the statue’s family for their immeasurable loss.